At University Hospital, we offer Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) using the Da Vinci SP robotic surgery platform. This allows us to remove tumors from the mouth and throat through the natural mouth opening and without making any additional incisions or scars. Traditionally, some tumors in this location were only removable through conventional surgery involving an incision through the lips and temporary separation of the lower jaw bone to access to the back of the throat.
With the robotic approach, we are able to use a high definition camera and small, thin robotic arms to remove these tumors through the mouth, leading to faster recovery times for patients and avoids the need for a surgical tracheotomy (a breathing tube placed through the skin of the lower neck directly into the trachea). Patients have a shorter hospital stay of 1-3 days, versus 7-14 days with conventional open surgery, and they experience fewer speech and swallowing issues. The robotic approach results in less surgical pain and quicker return to normal swallowing.
Around the world, and particularly in the United States, there are a growing number of patients who develop cancers in the tonsil and base of tongue caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). These cancers have a higher cure rate than other types of head and neck cancers, and robotic surgery is the most desired approach for treating these and other nearly invisible cancers. Robotic surgery is also a highly desired way to permanently treat tumors of the parapharyngeal (the area between the throat and jawbone) space.
TORS can also help select patients with sleep apnea. Sometimes, sleep apnea is caused by overgrowth of the lingual tonsil tissue (at the back of the tongue) that can create a narrow breathing passageway, particularly while sleeping. This excessive tissue can be easily removed with the assistance of the robotic surgery approach.
- Soly Baredes, MD
- Evelyne Kalyoussef, MD
- Chan W. Park, MD
- Dylan Roden, MD